Remaining Hopeful

Drawloom adjustments are underway!
Drawloom adjustments are underway!

This is the drawloom we had set up perhaps 4+ years ago, and it has been sitting idle.  I had tried many times to get this loom working, had asked advice from other drawloom weavers, tried every suggestion they offered, and much to my frustration, was not successful.

It is quite a challenge to change knots, weights, make adjustments to loom parts without being able to see the results of the changes.  I would be up and down the stepstool, or up off the floor, dozens of times without seeing any visible improvements.  And it is quite a challenge to depress a loom treadle and at the same time look into the side to check the shed, or see further back if shafts are moving properly, threads crossing as they should, and so on.

Two or three weeks ago I had asked Char if she would help me with this loom.  Char loves woodworking and had told me she wants to learn about looms and try to build one.  Yesterday she began learning weaving terminology, and loom parts and mechanics while we started working on the loom.  We referred again to “Damask and Opphamta,” studied the loom and the physics of what was happening, trying to determine, for example, why shafts would not return to their neutral position, why a depressed treadle would stay down and not come back up.  We began making adjustments and determined what changes were happening and if they were helping, or not.

This afternoon we were back at the loom, and having more success.  It was interesting how a change made at the top would cascade down into changes to shafts, then lamms, and finally treadles.  When we stopped today, knots had been re-adjusted on all the heavy counterweights, and shafts were doing better at returning to “neutral.”

Tomorrow morning I’ll finish adjusting the lower lamms, then the treadles, and then I’m hoping everything will be working and we’ll just need to fine-tune for clear sheds for all five treadles.

Glimakra single unit drawloom.
Glimakra single unit drawloom.

A drawloom is a double harness loom.  In the photo above, starting at the forefront of the picture, you see white cotton warp, the beater, then the first harness, a set of shafts that have long-eye heddles, and further back is the second harness with the pattern shafts.

Drawloom, looking at warp from back to front of loom.
Drawloom, looking at warp from back to front of loom.

This photo, taken standing at the back of the loom looking to the front.

Drawloom lingos.
Drawloom lingos.

Each group of threads at the pattern shafts and heddles has its own weight, or lingo.

Drawloom sheds need tweaking!
Drawloom sheds need tweaking!

Just before stopping today we checked the shed of each treadle. First one wasn’t too bad but needs fine-tuning.  The others were not as good, but there are still lamms and treadles to be adjusted so it was expected.

We’re so close, and I’m hopeful I will be able to weave on this loom again by the end of the week.  It has been around 28-29 years, far too long!

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